Federal authorities arrested Daren Moshe, a 24-year-old college student, outside a New York UPS store on October 3, 2014. He was selling α-PVP on the darknet. Two years later, a plea deal was finalized and Moshe was sentenced to six years in prison.
He admitted to selling importing drugs from China and selling them on Agora marketplace.
The Department of Homeland Security began investigating Moshe in September, 2014. A package of α-PVP, hidden inside lamps that resembled rabbits, was opened by customs in New York. The combined weight of the powder in the shipment was 507 grams.
An investigation ensued. The name on the UPS box was a fake name, registered using a fake ID and fake bank account. Investigating DHS officer noted all of this, recording the rabbit trail of information that linked Moshe to the crime.
Agents intercepted packages, causing them to “get returned to sender.” In reality, the packages were simply intercepted and analyzed. The DHS then received permission from UPS to operate as undercover UPS agents and have access to the delivery box. The package delivery service that delivered many of Moshe’s packages, TNT, similarly agreed to cooperate with DHS agents.
Moshe’s hand was forced when his packages went missing. He would inquire about them at the UPS office, often in person, allowing agents to gather visual identification. The pictures on the fake IDs were confirmed to match Moshe’s physical appearance. His true identity was still unknown.
The DHS agents asked UPS to inform Moshe that he would need to call the original package carrier for further information. UPS did exactly that and Moshe fell into the trap. When he called the package carrier, he was rerouted to a DHS agent. Moshe’s number was traced back to a cellular subscription owned by his parents. When the package carrier called Moshe’s number back, the voicemail greeting stated his real name, not the fake one he had been using for packages.
Agents then made penultimate move. Three packages were intercepted before reaching UPS and DHS agents worked with Customs to perform a swap. They removed the α-PVP from the incoming packages and replaced it with ordinary table salt. The packages were then reinserted into the mail stream for delivery. This tactic has been increasingly utilized by law enforcement this year.
DHS agents then waited with local police officers for Moshe to pick up the package. A UPS employee alerted agents when the 24-year-old came to the store. Agents arrested the student after he placed the packages in his vehicle, thus finalizing the controlled delivery.
Brooklyn federal court Judge William Kuntz finalized the entire case when he sentenced Moshe to six years in federal prison for importing from outside the U.S. a Schedule I controlled substance.
Moshe has been out on a $50,000 bail and will remain a free man until January 30, 2017.